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7 Tips for Healthy Gums and a Great Smile

7 Tips for Healthy Gums and a Great Smile

Healthy gums are critical for good oral health and a great smile. Taking a little time each day to brush, floss and take care of your gums will go a long way in preventing dental problems down the road.

Seemingly harmless issues like a little bleeding when you floss are a sign that your gums are not as healthy as they should be. Your best bet is prevention when it comes to healthy gums. If you’re proactive about it, then you’re less likely to experience the pain of sensitive teeth or even gingivitis, in which the gums become inflamed, bleed and swell.

It’s never to late to start taking better care of your gums.

Brush Regularly For Healthy Gums

First and foremost, you need to brush your teeth regularly. Brushing twice daily is considered the minimum to keep your teeth and gums healthy. But, you may not know that the way you brush can have an impact on your gums, too.

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  • Don’t brush too hard. Gentle pressure is all you need.
  • Use a toothbrush that is soft or extra-soft. The softness in the bristles is more gentle on the gums and won’t cut or rub them, making them bleed.
  • Brush at a 45-degree angle. This helps you get the bristles up against the gums, but you’re not abrasively rubbing them.
  • Every time you brush, aim for two minutes to help cut down on harmful bacteria in the mouth.

Don’t Forget to Floss

While flossing can seem like a drudgery, it goes a long way in helping to keep gums healthy. It removes plaque that would otherwise stay between the teeth and turn into tartar. Plaque and tartar buildup attract bacteria that will eventually lead to gum swelling and inflammation.

When you begin to floss, it will take it awhile to become a habit. However, if you keep at it, you’ll learn to look forward to how clean your mouth feels afterward.

Aim to floss at least once per day and help yourself out: get a brand of floss you’ll want to use. Some companies make different “flavours” of floss such as mint or cinnamon. For people with tight teeth, in which there’s not much space between each tooth, using floss “tape” or “ribbon” can be a lot more comfortable than other types. Waxed floss glides between the teeth more easily, as well.

Have you ever noticed that even if you brush thoroughly, your breath isn’t that great? If you don’t floss regularly, those little food particles left between the teeth can create a foul odor and contribute to chronic bad breath.

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Another benefit of flossing is that it’s heart-healthy: believe it or not, studies show that people who floss regularly have lower incidences of heart disease.

Use Mouthwash

Using a good mouthwash will not only keep your breath fresh, it can help keep harmful bacteria at bay.

Use a mouthwash that kills bacteria. A number of brands on the market do just that.

Eat Some Cheese

If you can’t brush at the end of a meal, try eating a piece of Swiss or other aged cheese. It actually helps to pull away some of the plaque and food particles leftover from meals.

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Not only that, the added calcium is good for bones and teeth.

Chew Sugarless Gum

You can freshen your breath and help clean your mouth by chewing on a piece of sugarless gum for about 20 minutes after eating. Keep in mind, this is more if you’re in a pinch. Regular gum-chewing, especially if you do that for extended amounts of time, can lead to jaw problems down the road.

Avoid gum with sugar in it, too. The added sugar will only serve to create more plaque and bacteria.

Try Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is a popular folk remedy. You “slosh” a tablespoon of coconut, sunflower, or sesame oil in your mouth for 10-20 minutes and then spit it out. It works like flossing in that you pull the oil through your teeth and lubricate the gums. It has the added benefit of whitening the teeth. Be careful, though. If you have loose fillings or otherwise painful teeth, you should check with your dentist before trying this remedy.

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Don’t Forget the Dentist

Of course, you need to see your dentist regularly: every six months. By doing so, your dentist can detect any problems early on and help to keep your teeth in optimal condition. He or she will be able to clean any plaque and tartar build-up that can lead to diseased gums and will give you other pointers for your oral care.

It’s Easy!

All these suggestions will only take a small amount of time. A few minutes a day is a great investment for a lifetime of healthy gums and teeth. What are you waiting for? Start taking care of those gums and pearly whites to keep that smile as bright as possible.

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Cyndi Calhoun

Cyndi is a passionate writer who writes about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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